Charges against a Maryland man who has been sitting in jail since January have been dropped after video surfaced of a cop falsifying evidence in the case, it was reported Wednesday. From the Baltimore Sun:
“Baltimore police and prosecutors have launched investigations after being alerted to body camera footage that the public defender’s office says shows an officer planting drugs.
“The footage is from a January drug arrest. It shows an officer placing a soup can, which holds a plastic bag, into a trash-strewn lot. The officer can then be seen walking to the street, where he flips on his body camera.”
The cop then reenters the lot and pretends to find the can, out of which he pulls the bag full of white capsules. But the officer was apparently unaware that body cameras have a feature that records 30 seconds of video, without audio, before the camera is activated, and it’s that silent half-minute that has him in hot water.
“We take allegations like this very seriously and that’s why we launched an internal investigation into the accusations,” police department spokesman T.J. Smith told the Sun. “We are fortunate to have body-worn cameras which provide a perspective of the event.”
Not so fortunate is the unidentified man who’s been locked up for the last six months based on planted evidence. His bail had been set at $50,000, an amount he couldn’t pay. Immediately after the public defender’s office alerted prosecutors to the footage, all charges against the man were dropped.
A spokesperson for Baltimore’s state attorney’s office, Melba Saunders, called the video “troubling” and said the prosecutor in charge of the case “took immediate and appropriate actions by dropping the case and alerting his supervisor.”
The internal affairs division of the Baltimore Police Department is conducting an investigation into the officer in question.